Books in the gold rush

Books in the gold rush were as rare as women were, and maybe more so. The miners valued any reading matter they could get. Books were passed from man to man and camp to camp and read and reread until the pages literally fell apart. Men would sit beside the fire in their cabins at night and read aloud. Others would gather around to listen. Aside from gambling and drinking there wasn’t much nightlife in the early gold country anyway and a good book was a prized possession that brought joy and entertainment to many.

The Celebrated Jumping Frog

Mark Twain, one of America’s favorite authors, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, spent time at Angels Camp in Calaveras County. It was there, in the Angels Hotel, that he first heard the tale that resulted in his break through story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” And being a writer Twain couldn’t help but to comment on this lack of books it the area. Here’s what he said.




  1. One of my favorite writers. Of course it helped that I grew up in the Mississippi area where he was born and lived.

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